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Thursday, April 7, 2011


What is Mumps ?

Mumps is a very common virus infection that affect the saliva–producing glands in the face, but it can affect some other parts of the body. It is most common in children between the age of five and fifteen years but rare in babies under one year. Outbreaks usually occur in winter and spring. Generally, it is a fairly mild illness and recovery is complete. One attach will provide the person with immunity for the rest of his or her life. Droplets containing the it virus are carried in the air and breathed in through the nose and mouth, the virus then spread through the body in the bloodstream. For a person to become infected, the contact has to be close-playing for a few hours with another child who has it, for instance. It is infectious for about 14 days after the initial symptoms develop. The incubation period (the time from coming into contact with an infected person to developing the disease) is 16 to 24 days. Roughly third of all people who catch it do not have any symptoms-only a blood test would confirm that they had had the disease. But when the symptoms do occur, most people feel unwell, have a raised temperature and experience a loss of appetite for about a week before any enlargement of the salivary glands is evident. Usually one of the parotid glands (the salivary glands at the sides of the face, below and in front of the ears) swells first, followed in a day or two by the other parotid gland. The growth is usually painful and children often complain of earache. Stating just below the lower part of the ear, the bump spreads over the angle of the jaw below and behind the earlobe. The size of the distension varies from barely noticeable to quite large. The amount of pain felt also varies but dose not seem to be related to the size of the swelling. In most cases the mouth and throat will feel rather dry because the glands produce less saliva while they are inflamed. Where diagnosis is difficult, various tests can be performed, including blood tests which show a rise in the level of it antibodies (cells produced by the body to ‘fight off’ the virus) during the illness.

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